Fuels

More Fast Chargers Could Lead to More EVs

Ipsos and EVBox Group report finds lack of recharge options largest barrier to entry
electric vehicle charging station
Photograph courtesy of EVBox

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. — U.S. drivers remain worried that if they switch to an electric vehicle (EV), they won't be able to charge their car or truck when they need to. Nearly half of U.S. residents (48%) are not confident that they will always find a charging station. Many also worry that charging will take too much time.

Such concerns are among the biggest roadblocks that keep U.S. drivers from switching to EVs. Adding more fast charging stations on the nation’s roads would bring down these barriers and accelerate EV adoption in the United States, according to a report from market research firm Ipsos and EVBox Group, a global provider of EV charging stations.

Other notable findings about fast charging from the EVBox Mobility Monitor, based on a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. residents nationwide in February 2021:

  • Among drivers who won’t buy an EV or can’t yet commit to doing so, one-third (33%) list “charging too time consuming” as a key reason.
  • Half of U.S. residents (50%) and 79% of those considering EVs (potential EV drivers) say more fast chargers would make them more willing to buy an EV.
  • Drivers would especially like to see more fast chargers at service stops and fuel stations—locations they depend on during long-distance and highway travel.
  • More fast charging is important to current EV drivers, too, and therefore critical to accelerating widespread EV adoption. Of current EV drivers, nearly 3 in 4 (73%) say they will probably or certainly buy an EV again. A similar share (76%) say more fast chargers would make them even more willing to buy another EV in the near future.

Photograph courtesy of EVBox

Understanding Fast Charging

Previous research conducted in Europe by EVBox and Ipsos has shown that when drivers know more about how EVs work, they are more likely to buy them. Yet just over half of current EV drivers (54%) in the United States, and fewer than 4 in 10 (38%) potential EV drivers, are familiar with how fast charging stations differ from regular chargers.

By using a fast charger, an EV driver can charge and get back on the road more quickly than by using a regular charging station. A fast charging (or DC for direct current) station charges an EV in less time than a regular (or AC for alternating current) charging station. A regular charger can charge an EV 12 to 25 miles in one hour, compared to a fast charger that can charge 84 to 334 miles in one hour, depending on the charger wattage.

Photograph courtesy of EVBox

Using Fast Charging

The majority of EV drivers (73%) charge mostly at home, typically for several hours overnight, using a residential charging station. That behavior, and because fast chargers are not yet widely available, helps explain why 42% of EV drivers never use fast charging, and only 2% use it 10 or more times per month.

Today, fast charging stations are more common on highways, at fuel stations and in other settings where drivers are traveling longer distances and need to charge fast along the road. After service stops and fuel stations, drivers want to see more fast chargers at workplaces, supermarkets and shopping malls.

Photograph courtesy of EVBox

What Drivers Want From Charging Stations

Current EV drivers expect fast chargers to make charging as easy as possible. When asked to identify the most useful features, 

  • 57% percent of U.S. residents said easy-to-manage charging station cables.
  • 52% said guiding LED lights.
  • 38% said contactless payment (app payment).
  • 35% said touchscreen directions.

Photograph courtesy of EVBox

EVBox Group, based in Libertyville, Ill., works with Ipsos annually to assess EV adoption in Europe. This is its first U.S. report, which represents the opinions of about 2,000 U.S. residents, including 100 EV drivers and 749 potential EV drivers (respondents who indicated they will most likely or definitely opt for an EV next time they purchase a car). EV drivers include hybrid, PHEV and BEV drivers.

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